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tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  July 16, 2015 9:00pm-11:01pm EDT

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in exploring new ways to make a secure air transportation system even more secure. thank you for this opportunity to be here. >> thank you captain. the chair right now recognizes itself for five minutes for questions. let's start with the secondary barrier issue. there has been some people advocating for a secondary barrier for cockpit doors. i know when i'm on the airplane now, i always notice the flight attendant turning the cart sideways and standing behind that cart when someone comes out of the cockpit door for a moment. there's been some question whether the secondary barrier is necessary, given all that. and given how quickly they come in and out of the cockpit. i want you to comment on that, and tell me by way of background, whether there's been any attempts to rush the door that you're aware of since 9/11. >> i'm not prepared to speak exactly 40u78 rush the door issues, or incidents there have been. but they have occurred.
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the door is an excellent door. it's very well fortified, and it's completely deployed. it's everywhere. the one vulnerability is this period of time when you have to leave for essential purposes, even passing meals or access the bathroom on the aircraft. even if it's for a very short period of time, and we take steps to make sure it's for the shortest period possible, that period is when we're most vulnerable. the installing of a very cost-effective barrier, we're talking $5,000 to $12,000 per aircraft once installed, it's forever, no operating cost of it you can almost completely if not completely eliminate that risky period of time. >> do you know what they look like? i've seen some renderings, but is it a full door, or screen or what? >> yes sir, it's a wire mesh retractable, lightweight and it's inexpensive as i mentioned. it goes from the floor to the
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ceiling of the cabin and it's installed after the cockpit door, but before the passenger cabin. so as you enter an aircraft, normally you see the cockpit door to the left and you turn right to go down the aisle of the cabin. it's in that period where you would make that turn. unobtrusive. often you wouldn't see it unless it's deployed. >> i want to switch gears and talk about the federal air marshal service and the relationship with the airline pilots. that you're aware of. it seems like you enjoy a pretty good relationship. are there any concerns about the conduct of the federal air marshal service, or ways we can improve it going forward? >> so, we have no concerns over the conduct in the air marshal service whatsoever. i think part of the aviation safety and security is always seeking better ways to do business. so while we're satisfied we have good communications, procedures through otwe, and out there on the line flying the aircraft, we know we can do better. we're constantly looking for
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those better ways to do it. >> what better ways would you say -- how can you improve the air marshal service? is it more bodies in the seats, or is it better training for them, or what? >> i think one way would be actually to expand the ffdo program. the ffdo program is an amply flyer for the federal air marshal service in the coordination on flights is executed at the tsa. so if you're covering more flights with ffdos, then you have the capability of covering more critical flights with the current fams. >> when you say expand the ffdos, what's preventing you from doing that. >> >>we would like to see the opportunity to expand to entice every pilot who wished to become an ffdo to become an ffdo? >> are there those who aren't because of the budget constraints? >> yes, sir. >> do you know how long the waiting list is? >> i do not.
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>> i think that would be very constructive for me. if there are pilots desiring to do this, and it's a question of funding, that should not be a question moving forward. we should do what we have to do to make that happen. to me, that's important going forward. can you tell me approximately what percentage of airline pilots have the fddo certification? >> i can't confirm or deny how many there are, sir. it is confidential. i don't even know, sir. >> at some point, perhaps in a more secure setting you could advise us. >> yes, sir. >> i do think it's another layer of the security that is an important deterrent. if there's something we can do to help you enhance that, we want to try to do that. this is far afield of the subject today, but i have a few seconds so i'll ask it. what happened with the german airlines, with the pilot going bad, and is there ways we can examine to try and help you
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prevent that from happening in this country, with our airlines? >> as you know airline pilots are subject to physical examination, in that there's an element of mental evaluation. the faa has stood up in the committee to examine the current processes we use for this element. at the airline pilots association, we really have had programs in place for many many years. we have not only substance abuse programs, but professional standards committees that monitor peer-to-peer within the program. we have pilot assistance programs where pilots can access hotlines 24/7, to express their angst, whether it be a family matter, personal matter, financial matter. we feel these programs have been very effective, as evidenced by this exceptionally rare incident. but we're part of the program to -- we're part of the solution going forward in trying to examine what else we can do. >> i look forward to hearing the results of that. because to me, if there's something we could help you to
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do that, we would do so. i appreciate your questions and now i'll refer to my rank and minority member, mr. payne from emergency. >> thank you, mr. chairman. and as usual we're on the same page, and the same thought, i was going to ask that same question in reference to the german incident. kind of stole my thunder. but captain canoll, we're really delighted to have you here this morning to testify before us. your credentials are second to none, as we look at them. and just definitely consider you an expert in this area. i want to ask you about the screening process for applicants into the federal flight desk officers program. are there any prerequisites for
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applying such as tenure or flight hours? >> thank you, congressman. so the prerequisites that i'm about to describe are over and above the prerequisites that you would have to maintain to be an active air transport category pilot. that would be the physical testing requirements to be in the cockpit. the volunteers through an online process submit a volunteer questionnaire, which is extensive. then there is an in-person interview conducted with those who get through the first level. and then there is a background check of those who are conditionally accepted. the program training is essentially one week in length. they arrive on sunday they depart on saturday. and in any given five-year point, they need to be able to look back and find that they've either completed initial training or recurrent training. and maintain their qualification at all times. >> how has the training
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undergone by ffdos been tailored to address the evolving threats with aviation security? >> as i mentioned before all of aviation, both in the cockpit and in design and in the ffdo program, is an evolving training process. it changes in each cycle. i'm not familiar with the actual recent changes they've made. they're not, of course for public consumption but they do evolve each training cycle so they're receiving the most current thoughts from the fams and all of tsa on tactics that they use. >> are there any incentives that could be created to encourage enrolling in the ffdo program? >> yes, sir. currently the ffdo program, there's a few elements here. first of all, we do not have widespread, or actually extremely limited international carriage capability for ffdos.
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so they don't deploy on international flights. in our larger airlines, pilots transfer in and out of national categories, sometimes on a daily basis. if we could work with the department of state to expand our ability to travel internationally as the familiar does with our weapon that would be helpful. we also believe that the requirement for the employer to provide leaves of absence for the ffdo to attend training would be helpful as well. currently now you just have to coordinate it through your off schedule. finally, any assistance we could get for ffdos to offset the practices they incur while they travel would be helpful as well. they receive no remuneration for service. >> just for us, please detail the way the ffdos communicate with familiarss for vulnerability on flights. >> from a broad perspective, the
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ffdo program coordinates with the tsa, and so does the fam program. i'm not familiar exactly with the cross-communications between otwe and assistant administrator allison's department. but we are satisfied that it does take place, evidenced by the very quick reaction we get from otwe on all our concerns. >> okay. well, i appreciate your testimony. and you being available to answer the questions. and with that mr. chairman, i'll yield back. >> thank you mr. payne. i have one quick follow-up question i neglected to ask, and that was, comparing the current safety strategies that is in place, absent the secondary barrier, and that is turning the cart sideways and having a person behind it, versus the secondary barrier, could you tell me the degree of difference you think there is in the security when a pilot's coming out of the cockpit?
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>> i've never really contemplated putting a mathematical measurement on it. >> not a mathematical measurement, but what are your concerns with the current way they're doing it? >> well i mean, without getting into our common strategy elements, i think even the most uneducated passenger can see that a simple drink cart isn't nearly as obstructive as a floor-to-ceiling wire mesh. and the drink cart is guarded by a flight attendant, which also isn't nearly as strong as a wire mesh. i think it's intuitive that if you have a wire mesh, you're going to have zero capability to get through that in the time the door's open. the drink cart has wheels. it's meant to move. it's meant to move, and it only comes up about waist level. there are some serious considerations there. and i don't think you could find anyone who would argue that the wire mesh physical barrier is far more secure.
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>> now i've done a lot of hearings this year and i've never asked this question, but since we have a few moments, is there anything that we haven't touched on that you wish we did, or anything else you would like to raise before you conclude your testimony? >> i think we've been very efficient with our time. >> i think so too. >> i think the program is running very very well in summary. and i think i would like to see an expansion of the program, as you mentioned. mr. chairman, i think it would work well. it has been a -- since 2001, we had secondary barriers in our agenda as something we wanted to see in our aircraft. a real enhancement to our security. we had some voluntary compliance. but in the last seven to eight years, it has waned to zero. no one's installing them because there's no requirement. if we could find a way to work a requirement in, and it doesn't have to be a requirement to have them installed by the end of the year on every aircraft, we can phase this in over a longer period of time. that's the best single enhancement we can do. >> i appreciate your time. as far as flight deck officers
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program, if there's any information you want to submit to the committee we would be happy to look at it and see what we could do. >> thank you, sir. >> i thank you for your testimony. i thank mr. payne for his questions. the members of the committee may have additional questions for you. and we would ask you to respond to these in writing. the hearing record will be open for ten days. without objection, the subcommittee stands adjourned. thank you for your time, sir.
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one year ago, malaysian flight 117 was shot down over eastern ukraine. friday, a panel of investigative reporters presents its findings about the causes of that incident, at the atlantic
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council. live coverage begins at 9:00 a.m. eastern on c-span2. this weekend, on the c-span networks politics, books, and american history. a road to the white house coverage features nearly all of the presidential candidates and begins friday night in iowa. at 8:00 eastern, we're live on c-span from cedar rapids iowa for the democratic hall of fame dinner. all day saturday starting at 11:00 a.m. eastern live at the family leadership summit in ames, iowa. a little after 6:30 eastern interviews with two republican presidential candidates. first lindsey graham, and john kasich. on c-span2's book tv saturday morning at 11:00 eastern live from new york city for the 17th annual harlem book fair with panels on economics african-american identity and race and politics, with a story of journalist pamela newkirk and
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more. and ann coulter said the greatest issue facing the u.s. is immigration. "american history tv" on c-span3, saturday afternoon starting at 1:00 eastern, we're live with the warren g. harding symposium on modern first ladies from florence harding to michelle obama. speakers include author cynthia bittinger and executive director of the first ladies library. and a little after 9:00, jake ursuline shows how the u.s. government showed propaganda during world war ii to persuade citizens to join the military, buy war bonds and keep national secrets. get our complete schedule at a recent report by the consumer financial protection bureau showed that agency actions resulted in financial institutions paying $114 million in compensation to consumers. cfpb director richard cordray testified at the senate banking
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committee about his agency's work. this is just over two hours. >> the meeting will come to order. today the committee will hear from richard cordray, the director of the bureau of consumer financial protection. the bureau has grown to over 1,450 employees, and has been very active since director cordray's last testimony before this committee. among other things, it has recently increased actions to include the auto finance industry. these actions like others undertaken by the bureau since its formation have not been without controversy. many would say some of them go beyond what congress envisioned
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in dodd/frank. for instance, the bureau's regulation of auto lending now involves over 30 nonbank lenders, not previously subject to its supervision. this move has been called into question given the specific exemption for auto dealers in dodd/frank. in addition to concerns with recent regulatory actions, issues remain with the bureau's lack of accountability. this has been demonstrated by concerns with the bureau's budgeting process, including the rising costs of renovation for the cfpb's new headquarters. according to the federal reserve inspector general, the estimated cost of actual renovation increased from $40 million in february of 2012 to $145 million in december of '13. this is over a 3 1/2 times the initial estimate. the inspector general also estimated that the total cost is now closer to $216 million.
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the administration has yet to explain who approved the renovation, and what happened to the documentation involved. unfortunately, congress does not have control over how the bureau spends its funds because the cfpb operates outside of the appropriations process. even the federal reserve which funds the cfpb from its earnings does not control the bureau's budget. because congress cannot tighten the financial reins when budgeting issues arise the bureau's current structure makes meaningful congressional oversight very difficult. so-called independence is one reason cited by the authors of dodd/frank for the bureau structure. but other independent agencies such as the securities and exchange commission, the cftc, the ftc, and the cpsc are all subject to the appropriations process. additionally, the bureau does not even have its own office of
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inspector general, relying instead on the inspector general of the federal reserve. some of us have urged the adoption specific reforms to make the bureau more accountable, and more transparent. putting the bureau through the appropriations process and establishing a board of director i believe it would resemble other agencies and provide congress with the ability to conduct meaningful oversight. unfortunately, calls for reform have been rejected in past congresses. therefore, the only remaining oversight available to the congress is to hold hearings, and hope that any concerns expressed perhaps would be addressed. director cordray it would be like giving you the authority to the consumer financial laws, but withholding the authority to enforce them. i think you would agree that would make you highly ineffective as an agency charged with implementing our consumer financial laws.
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congressional oversight of the bureau is critical now more than ever, because the cfpb's growing reach over the practices of individuals and companies in the financial sector. for the time being, here we will conduct hearings and submit respectful requests that may or may not be addressed. i'm confident that the time will come when we will reassert our constitutional prerogative that the supporters of dodd/frank sacrificed five years ago in the name of bureaucratic independence. only then, i believe will the bureau be truly accountable to the people's representatives. >> director cordray welcome back to the senate banking committee. next week marks, as we know, the five-year anniversary of the wall street reform acts which created the consumer financial protection bureau. financial crisis, never should we forget the worst this country has seen since the great depression. exposed many weaknesses in our
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regulatory system. most troubling is that no one was looking out for consumers. consumers were steered into mortgages they couldn't afford, often the terms -- with terms that were not disclosed, high fees sudden interest rate increases. 5 million americans lost their homes in foreclosure. and home state of the director and my state alone, half a million homes were foreclosed upon between 2006 and 2011. half a million homes. the height of the crisis in 2009 1 in 3 ohioans were underwater. one in every six mortgage holders was at least 30 days delinquent or in foreclosure. the banking regulators are supposed to be enforcing consumer financial laws. too often they look elsewhere. a number of industries developed in the shadows with no clear federal oversight. more importantly, no federal regulator was expressly tasked with ensuring consumers were
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treated fairly in their financial transactions. we created the cfpb to fill this void, to make sure that never again would consumers be an afterthought in our nation's financial system. cfpb opened its doors just shy of four years ago. in these four years, it's proved over and over that its creation was one of the big success stories of wall street reform. as the chairman speaks of the cfpb's budget i think it's important to note that the cfpb has returned $10 billion to the pockets of 17 million consumers. it has fined countless companies for egregious consumer abuses, including credit card companies secretly adding on unwanted products, phone companies cramming fees onto consumers' bills, or mortgage servicers and lenders illegally foreclosing on homeowners and service members. the agency served as an important place for consumers to turn over 650,000 complaints
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have been filed with the bureau. cfpb is to be commended for these successes. the ongoing enforcement actions though, show us that work is not done. just last week the cfpb, 47 states, and district of columbia took action against a bank for robo signing court documents and selling zombie credit card debt, or debt that had lfr been cleared. today i want to introduce a bill that will address zombie debt along with several of my colleagues in the introduction. last week the fed published numbers showing the consumer borrowing is at a record high, $3.4 billion by steady increases in student loans, auto loans and credit card loans. i look forward to hearing from director cordray and what the cfpb views as areas to watch in
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the consumer market, and what this agency will do moving forward. we've seen in state after state the predatory lenders as soon as the state passes legislation to rein them in, the lenders morph into something else. we saw that in ohio after a ballot issue passed about six years ago, ohio enacted a short-term lender loan. was strong bipartisan support. it was short-lived as payday lenders by adding fees. this creativity at the state level necessitates continued vigilance by the consumer bureau, and i hope that the cfpb's rules governing short-term loans close these loopholes. much of the cfpb's most important work is centered on mortgage regulation. the agency's ability to repay rules, ensure that consumers are
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not trapped in mortgages they can't afford. cfpb's rules will help consumers understand what's happening at the table during closing. all of these actions speak for themselves as to why this agency is so so important to millions of americans. yet, opponents continue to work to undermine the agency by weakening its independence, but changing its structure. lately there have been attempts to chip away the action they've taken on in arbitration in small dollar loans. they argue the agency should not be able to collect data about markets that were formally nontransparent and unregulated. i will continue to fight as so many members of this committee will to fight all these attempts to destabilize the cffb. our consumers deserve a strong watchdog that can do its job independently. it's our job to make sure that happens. thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you, senator brown. without objection, at this time i'd like to enter into the record statements from the
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credit union national association, and the national association of federal credit unions. director cordray welcome to the committee again. your written testimony will be made part of the record. you can proceed as you wish. >> thank you, mr. chairman. ranking member brown members of the committee. thank you all for the opportunity to testify today about our latest semiannual report to congress. we appreciate your continued oversight and leadership as we work together to strengthen our financial system. and ensure that it serves consumers, responsible businesses in the long-term foundation to the american economy. i would reiterate mr. chairman that we take very seriously the oversight that we get from congress. these hearings are from the senate banking committee which are required by law. it's important oversight for us. we listen carefully for what is said and take it to heart as we go about our work. next week marks five years since the passage of the dodd/frank wall street reform and consumer protection act. as has been noted.
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and it's four years since the consumer bureau actually opened its doors. as you know, congress created this agency in response to the financial crisis with the purpose and sole focus of protecting consumers in the financial marketplace. we understand our responsibility to stand on the side of consumers, and ensure that they are treated fairly. through fair rules, consistent oversight, appropriate enforcement of the law, and broad-based consumer engagement the consumer bureau's working to restore people's trust and confidence in the markets they use for everyday financial products and services. to date the bureau's enforcement activity has resulted in $10.1 billion in relief for over 17 million consumers. our supervisory actions have resulted in financial institutions correcting many subpar and illegal practices. and providing almost $200 million in redress to over 1.6 million consumers. we've now handled as was mentioned more than 650,000 complaints. a matter that is particularly important to us.
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from consumers that address all manners of financial products and services. these consumers are your constituents in each of your states. for example, one excerpt of a complaint from a service member in alabama reads, we opened an account. we paid as agreed until we were unable to pay the full amount. we agreed to pay a lesser amount and paid by allotment. the bank got a judgment against us while i was training. i was informed of it when my wages began to be garnished. we've asked repeatedly to have this be fixed. we have paid the company nearly $25,000 over the last 11 years for furniture. the furniture is not lasted. however, the payments and ruin continue. we need assistance as we have tried every other step possible to fix this without aid. another excerpt from a consumer in my home state of ohio and ranking member's home state reads, i elected and agreed to a reduced payment plan with a student loan servicer.
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my monthly payment was incorrectly allocated which was resulting in late fees and delinquency notice. after speaking with customer service representatives, no resolution has been reached. these are the stories that motivate us in our work. in this most semiannual report to congress, we attempt to achieve our efforts on behalf of the tsunamis. consumers. consumers fell victim to various violations of consumer protection laws. along with over 32 million in civil money penalties. for example we took action again a company for illegal debt collection practices that resulted in $2.5 million in relief for service members. we also stopped an illegal kimback scheme for marketing services which resulted in 11.1 million in redress to wronged consumers. we worked with the department of education to obtain $480 million to student loan borrowers who
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were wronged, for a for-profit chain of colleges that has since declared bankruptcy. the bureau also issued a number of proposed final rules. in october 2014, we issued a final rule to reduce burdens on industry by promoting more effective privacy disclosures from financial institutions to their customers. in november 2014, the notice of proposed rule making provides consumer protections for the first time for prepaid cards and accounts. in december 2014, the bureau issued a proposal to clarify various provisions of the mortgage servicing bureaus. in january 2015, further changes were made to the mortgage rules to facilitate mortgage lending by small creditors particularly those in rural or underserved areas, community banks and credit unions. this would increase the number of institutions offering different types of mortgages in rural or underserved areas and adjust the business practices to comply with the new rules. as the data driven institution, there are several reports during
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this reporting period that highlighted important topics in consumer finance, such as medical debt arbitration grelts reverse mortgages, and consumer credit scores and credit reports. we released a tool kit that will encourage consumers to shop for mortgages and better understand how to go about the important task of buying a home. in the years to come, we look forward to continuing to fulfill congress' vision of an agency that's dedicated to cultivating a consumer financial marketplace based on transparency, responsible practices, sound innovation, and excellent customer service. thank you for the opportunity to testify today. mr. chairman, i look forward to your questions. >> thank you. director cordray you've said many times that you're accountable to congress. however, you get to determine your budget and how to spend it. neither congress nor the fed can tell you how to allocate taxpayers' money. many members of congress have expressed strong disapproval of your the costly building
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renovations which include a waterfall and four-story glass staircase, and now stands at more than 3 1/2 times my understanding the original estimate. has this disapproval by people caused you to change your renovation plans in any way? and if so tell us what changes you made if any. >> two answers to that question. the first on the overall issue of accountability and oversight. we are accountable to this congress in numerous ways that are in our statute. the gao does a regular audit of our expenses and expenditures each year, which is not common to federal agencies. we are subject to an independent audit also by our statute. we're subject to reviews by our inspector general which have been vigorous. i'm required by law to testify in front of this committee that's where the congress puts the jurisdiction, and has seemed appropriate in your oversight twice a year.
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we have numerous other accountability mechanisms as well. and like the other banking agencies, we are not subject to the appropriation process, but that is not unique. it would be odd if we were different from the others in that respect. as to the building project that has been overhyped. and misrepresented. the building costs have remained essentially static from before we took on this building, and the office of thrift supervision had performed an audit that saw that the building was in disrepair, and needed an overhaul if it was going to remain a productive government asset. the construction costs have been pretty steady. between 95 and $120 million, approximately. we recently let the contracts do competitive bidding and they come in thus far underbudget. and the gsa is managing a program which feels more appropriate to me they know more about it than i do and they have stated this is an
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appropriate government renovation project, well within the cost estimates of similar projects. that's my understanding of that issue. >> thank you. yesterday the bureau announced a settlement of an enforcement action against american honda finance corporation, one of the nation's largest auto industries. as part of the settlement, honda, it's my understanding, must substantially reduce or eliminate entirely the ability of auto dealers to raise or lower the finance rate offered to consumers. a recent american banker article quoted from a cfpb memo stated that the bureau is seeking to accomplish quote these significant limitations of dealer discretion. considering that auto dealers were explicitly exempted from the cfpb's jurisdiction in dodd/frank, how can -- can this be seen as anything other than a back door effort to regulate the auto dealers which were
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basically exempt from dodd/frank? >> three things on that. the first is and the justice department, we're not alone in enforcing the equal opportunity act, we did resolve a matter with honda yesterday. and it's to honda's credit, i would commend them, they have taken far-reaching steps to constrain the discretionary markup, which we think has led to discrimination for consumers. the justice department has led to discrimination for consumers. it was industry leadership that honda demonstrated yesterday and i commend them for that. second, in terms of our responsibility here, we have been very careful to observe a line that was not necessarily an obvious or logical line that congress drew, which was to say that the consumer bureau has jurisdiction over auto lenders. but does not have jurisdiction over auto dealers. that jurisdiction as i understand it is given to the federal trade commission. we feel that means that the law has spoken clearly, that we have a responsibility to address any
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sort of issues of discrimination, or other violations of the law by lenders. but not by dealers. that may be illogical but that's the line we have. and we have taken our responsibilities seriously there. as i say we have a partner in this work, which is the department of justice. and we work together to address these issues. i think that's been appropriate. but i'm always willing to hear more from members of this committee, and members of congress. we are simply looking to enforce the law, and do it accurately and appropriately. >> on march the 26th, the bureau released an outline of its proposed plans to end payday debt traps. every state, it's my understanding, either regulates or outright prohibits payday lending. what analysis did the bureau conduct of state laws and regulations prior to deciding it should preempt their regulations? and if you have it could you provide that analysis to the committee? do you want to comment on it?
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>> sure. in our statute, there were four issues that were very explicitly given full jurisdiction to the consumer bureau. mortgage origination, mortgage servicing, payday lending and private student lending. those were specifically called out in our statute. we've been working on the issue for years. since we became an agency. we have published two extensive white papers that really detail our analysis of this market. they involved scrutiny of upwards of 15 million loans. it's the most comprehensive work that's ever been done on this industry. what we concluded from that was that the problem of debt traps rollovers of loans, was a very significant problem for consumers, and who are in the small lend market. there is a representation this is a product that people get a loan, and repay it, and they get in, get out and don't end up in a trap. and what we found was that well over half the loans are repeat
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loans, in sequences of 6, 8, 10 12 loans, where people are living their lives off of 400 or 500% interest. that's the issue that we're looking and working to address. it is a very complex issue, i will say. we want to preserve access to credit for people who need that credit, and we recognize there is a demand for that credit. at the same time we do not want consumers to end up harmed by being stuck in a debt trap they cannot get out of. and harming their finances. that's the dilemma we're trying to confront there. >> thank you. senator brown? >> thank you mr. chairman. before i begin questions, i'd like to comment on recent attempts to undermine the consumer bureau. last month the house appropriations committee passed a bill that kills the cfpb's independence. similar attempts have been made in the senate, including the idea that the cfpb governance should be changed to a commission. the argument is that it would be better led by a commission it's clearly designed to cripple the bureau and set up one nomination
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fight after another. we are, inl believe, the only committee in the senate to hold a hearing on many of our nominees, most of whom were sent to the committee in january. in 2007, when senator tester and i joined this committee, when we were in the seventh year of the bush administration, this committee had three nomination hearings and reported out a dozen or so nominees before the august recess. we have important jobs open waiting for us to act. from a fed nominee, to the treasury undersecretary for terrorism and financial crimes changing the cfpb's governance would stop the agency in its tracks, and again leave consumers without a federal watchdog. and i would again point out with the criticism that we hear so frequently of the cfpb on budgets, on buildings, all that, that the cfpb has returned over $10 billion to 17 million
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americans. now, my question director i was encouraged to see the release of study of forced arbitration as we required in wall street reform. i'm concerned, but not surprised that the bureau found no evidence that forced arbitration leads to lower prices for consumers. 3 out of 4 consumers didn't even know they were subject to an arbitration clause. a couple of months ago, a number of members of this committee sent a letter to the bureau urging swift rule making to ban forced arbitration in consumer contracts. what is the bureau's thinking on this issue? when can we expect to see action? >> thank you, ranking member brown. as to nominees all i can say is, i was very pleased to have the opportunity to be confirmed by the senate in july of 2013. it took a while. but ultimately was a strong vote. and i really appreciated the care with which the senate
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considered that nomination. i can't speak to the others you're talking about. on the arbitration report we did issue an arbitration report. congress required us to do that as part of the dodd/frank act. what they said was -- actually, congress did a couple of things that were interesting in arbitration in that law. they first said that they were going to ban outright any sort of arbitration clauses, predisputed arbitration clauses in my mortgage contract. this was a significant shift away from the permissive attitude to the act developed over decades. they also said, and this is what we're getting to here, as to the the rest of consumer financial products and services, they required the bureau mandated that the bureau perform a study and a report to congress on the potential effects of arbitration agreements of that kind. we did that very carefully and deliberately. it took us a couple of years of work, lots of research, and ultimately a significant report
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that looked into areas that had not been looked into comparing arbitration in the consumer context with judicial resolutions. we did issue that report to congress earlier this year. what the statute then says is, having done that, having performed that task, it was then for the bureau to consider what might be done, consistent with the public interest, and consistent with the results of that study to either modify or address predispute arbitration agreements for other consumer financial products and services. we have determined at this point, having digested our own study, and gotten a great deal of feedback from industry and others on it that we will be moving ahead with rule-making in this area. and we'll be in due course here convening a small business review panel as the first step in considering what actions to take. so that is where it stands as of this point. >> thank you. we hear from banks about issues
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related to coordination of exams with prudential regulators. i know the inspector general recently reported it is not found duplication of regulators oversight responsibilities. i'd like you to talk for a moment about your examinations. what's the value of your examination, and supervision authority, what are you doing to improve coordination without -- with other agencies of your exams, particularly of smaller institutions so that -- because obviously exams can be costly to them and we want to make sure there's not duplication. >> this is an area of real focus for us where we've made a tremendous amount of progress over the last several years. if you had asked me that question back in 2012 when we were just undertaking our examination program, we were only man mally staffed up. we were probably at about a third of what we needed in terms of manpower. the coord as we would have liked it to be. at this point i think the coordination has become quite good. not perfect, but quite good.
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i would say in particular on the nonbank side, we coordinate with the conference of state and supervisors who have primary responsibility in that area prior to the consumer bureau entering the scene and we have done numerous coordinated exams with them. and we share information with them back and forth consistently. with the other federal banking agencies which is also quite important, because they have credential safety and soundness authority which is significant over these institutions distinct from our protection authority, the law mandates that we dlab rate. the law mandates that we share drafts of examination reports which we do back and forth. the law mandates that as we go about proposing rules that they have a lot of input into those rules, which they have had. and i think that that has improved enormously. not to say that i don't still hear isolated instances now and then where it feels to me the coordination could be somewhat better. but i think certainly the
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leadership at those agencies, at the federal reserve, at the fdic and occ have been committed to collaborating with the fcpb and understand that we have distinct but related roles to be integrated, so institutions don't have to face what i regard are unfair situations that they would not know how to proceed. i don't think we're hearing that. i tell institutions all the time, let us know about your complaints in this regard so we can fix them, and again, i think there's been tremendous progress over the last three years. >> thank you. >> thank you mr. chairman. director cordray, as you know recently in congress we've been debating the question of whether the nsa should be allowed to access telephone records of americans. and i have been very concerned about the massive data collection that the cfpb's been engaged in. the last congress, as you know, i asked that the cfpb's data collection program be reviewed
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by the government accountability office. and that gao report established and i'd just like to confirm the facts with you, but that gao established as i understand that the cfpb has an ongoing collection of up to $600 million credit cards that are being evaluated, the data is being collected on 11 million credit reports, 700,000 auto sales 29 million mortgages and 5.5 million student loans. >> i certainly would agree with figures that are set forth in the gao report. they did a very careful evaluation of us over the better part of a year. we worked closely with them. i have nothing to dispute in that report. >> as you know in several places the dodd/frank legislation prohibits the cfpb from collecting personally identifiable information. the cfpb claims it's not doing so because it is not collecting
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certain things like the names social security number and address of the person whose credit card data, for example they are collecting. could you tell me what data points the cfpb is not collecting on those credit card transactions? >> you mentioned the fact that we have developed credit card data base. we're working on a national mortgage database consumer credit panel. in all of those areas, this information, it's really significant to get this, because it's often misunderstood. this is identified anonemized information as you noted. name address, social security number, account number, is not included in any of that material. so it's actually pretty uninteresting data from the standpoint of, say, you or i being concerned about our privacy. what it does is gives us a sense of patterns of consumer protection, consumer abuse in
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the industry. that's what we're looking for. it's like a gdp or unemployment rate analysis it's not about what you or i do in our daily lives. i'm uninterested in that. >> you and i have had this conversation before. one of the concerns i have is that it's easy to say that data has been anoneimized, and it's relatively easy to de-anoneemize. just the dates and locations of four purchases are enough to identify about 90% of the people in a credit card data set. so are you telling me that the information the cfpb collects did not be de-anonemize the. >> i don't think it would be worth anybody's while to do that. personally identifiable information within the federal government agency is only a problem to us doing our work.
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it creates all kinds of issues. and we try to avoid it as much as possible. so to avoid making extra work for ourselves on those issues. >> just to get clear on the scope on those issues. >> just to get clear on the scope, my understanding is you're collecting data somewhere around 80% to 90% of all credit cards. is that correct? >> in that one, all the other areas we do sampling. in that one we don't because industry told us it is more efficient and less costly for them to simply do a data dump than to have to organize a representative sample. and this is consistent with other agencies treatment of the same issues. >> well because of time, i'm going to move on. i want to continue this conversation. >> that's fine. >> i do believe the protection for americans is not adequate. >> happy to speak to you personally and your staff in your office wherever you'd like. >> the last question i want to get into is the paperwork reduction act designed to ensure the greatest possible public benefit from and maximize the
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utility of information collected, maintained and disseminated by the federal government. and to improve the quality and use of federal information, decision making and so forth. it's my understanding that each of the ten 22 orders issued to date by the cfpb which is the orders to collect this data has been sent to fewer than nine companies to avoid the review of the request by the office of management and budget. you could tell me how many time has the cfpb utilized the exception for reviewing data requests by sending 1022 requests to fewer than ten companies? >> we utilized it several times and went through the full process several times. that's one way of characterizing what we've done. as we're seeking data, if we can limit the number of institutions so that we don't have to burden other institutions, i assume that's what you would like us to do. it's another version of sampling. so rather than seeking the data from hundreds of institutions,
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if we can get a representative sample and fewer than nine, that's easier for us. >> you could clarify for me and maybe can you do it since my time up is maybe can you do it in a written response. i'd like to know the exact data rather than several times this wayen that way. out of all of the data requests you made how many have avoided the omb review? >> today is military protection day. fitting you should be here. one of the prouder achievements is in the service of member affairs which is in your organization led by holly petraeus. so thank you for all you're doing to help protect our servicemen and women. the basic legal protection for these young americans and service members goes back to the civil war.
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enforcement is scattered about. they have civil authority civil action banking regulation. but the enforcement is really lax. you pointed out last week when you did a report which indicated that service members continue to report difficult obtaining their service members and civil relief protection of 6% on loans. the lower going back a long time ago. if you get anything in the arms services is 6%. and i have put legislation in to give authority for enforcement to see if there is background. if congress were to enact this legislation, how would the cfpb be better equipped to protect them from social harm? >> if there are more cops on the beat to protect our troops in terms of potential abuses or problems and financial products and services which for them are
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just a distraction from their ability to focus on the job which is defending and protecting all of us. that that would be a helpful thing. i note that the congress a couple years ago and i think it was under your urging did provide enforcement support. i think that is a positive step forward. we work with partners, particular lit department of justice is active in this area. again, they only have so many resources. we only have so many resources. if there's ever an area where we should be training and focusing resources on the problem it's making sure that our service members are treated appropriately and fairly in the financial marketplace so they don't have to worry about those problems. >> thank you very much. and you made reference the military lending act. that was passed in -- for the fiscal year 2007 national defense act.
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it gives you authority but it puts the burden on the defense. they're trying to do that again. they had a series of regulations that were well intentioned but didn't address the problems that face servicemen and women. can you briefly explain what -- how these members remain vulnerable today. >> i appreciate you have had a very constant and sharp focus on these issues. and you've seen to it that progress moves along in this area. i think we're close to having a new set of rules. i commend the department of defense for the speed with which they recognized the importance of working on this problem. the difficulty is that military lending act passed in 2007 there was a sest rules meant to implement it. they were too narrow and too
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easy circumvented. this is very much the problem that senator brown pointed out earlier of people being able to swim around the otherwise well intentioned rules and you still can see website after website of online lenders to service members at triple digit percentages and some are 400, a 500, 600% going under the current set of rules which is why congress has directed that this be redone. i believe that very shortly we're going to have a new set of rules and service members will have new important protections that they probably should have had several years ago. >> thank you very much. again, we're all rightfully appreciative of the service that these men and women render the country and we say that repeatedly. but if their rights can't be
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adequately protected, then the let rhetoric is nice but it's better to have the access to the rules and protections. >> a number of the members of the committee can speak to this personally from their own experience from service. so i think it's quite important. >> thank you very much. >> thank you mr. chairman. thank you. like a lot of members and a lot of citizens, i'm really concerned about the vast amounts of data that cfpb collects on all citizens or related to the financial transactions. i have a proposal to allow any citizen to see what personal identifiable data the cfpb has collected on them at least once a year. would you support that concept?
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>> so in general our approach to this is we're not interested in personally identifiable data where we can at all avoid it. it and causes problems for us as an agency in our work. the data we're collecting to monday tort credit marred market mortgage market issues you'll all ask us from time to time whether laws have gone too far, whether they've gone far enough. how can we possibly answer the questions if we don't have data on the marketplace? now that is very different from me wanting data on what senator vitter does in individual transactions. we have consumer response where consumers give us their data so that we can work on the complaint the same way constituents go to your office and give you data so can you work -- >> you collect significant personally identifiable data? >> no. and then the -- >> you don't?
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>> we don't. >> you don't collect any of that? >> we have no reason to do that. >> and you don't collect any of that? >> for example oushgs credit card data, we do not have name. we do not have address. we do the no have social security number or account number. we're not interested in that. >> do you collect it before you scrub it? we asked for the data to be scrubbed before it comes to us. >> who gets it and o scrubs it? >> depends on which data base we're talking about. i'd be happy to have a full briefing for you on this. >> so somebody involved in the process has that. >> it is scrubbed before it comes us to. they care very much what we do in our personal transactions and always marketing to us on that. that's where the focus should be. we don't have that data. we don't care about. that we're trying to monitor markets as a whole. it's a big difference and it's
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often misunderstood and misstated by people. so that's what i would say to them. >> so what about these data bases, the collection of one time collection of 100,000 to 500,000 departmented advance accounts that contained department account and transaction level data? did you never collect that? >> we've had particular collections from industry in order to work on particular reports. again, we're tip beingly not interested in transaction level data. or individual transactions. >> so what i did reference did include transaction level data? >> again number of different collections over different times. if you'd like us to have people come to your office and speak very specifically about anything in particular you want to know more about happy to do it.
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if it's a problem in your mind, then it's a problem in my mind. >> i have seen personally identifiable transaction related data that have been collected. >> you have seen that? how have you seen that? >> i've read about at least three specific data bases that you all have collected that contain that, number one. >> give us a chance to brief you and question speak to this number. >> and number two, there is all sorts of dat yau collect that involve that information, at least before it gets to you. would you support citizens being able to see what data is being collected because of regulations of cfpb? >> this sounds good in the abstract typically the data we're collecting, we can't tell
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what you citizen is what. you and i don't want us to know. that and we do not know it. therefore, we couldn't even answer that question. >> it would only apply to what i'm describing. you would support citizens having access to that to understand what is being collected? >> again, i'd be happy to talk to you about that. they gave us the saturdaya so question work the problem just as do you the arms of your offices. if it's enforcement or reaction to get relief to people, we need to know who should get the relief. i don't care and don't want to know who an individual is and we typically do not know it. and therefore, we cannot tell an individual anything about their data. we don't know whose data it is. that's the way i want it. >> senator menendez? >> thank you mr. chairman. with the fifth anniversary of the wall street reform act this
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month has been a lot of discussion about what the law did well, where there might be room for improvement and as i look back, i think it's quout question that establishing the consumer protection bureau is one of the corner stone achievements of the law. people have a cop on the beat on their side to identify and stop predatory and some deceptive practices. >> now i fought hard for the creation as a member of the committee as well as many of the protections it is charged with enforcing. such as strong mortgage servicing rules to stop foreclosure abuses and protections to end abusive and deceptive credit card practices.
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and while the law is not perfect and some important challenges remain, the last five years have shown that overall there's a lot it got right. the cfpb has been at the forefront of manufacture the gains which is a testament that work that you and senator warren and the cfpb put in to stand up the agency from scratch and continue the positive development. i want to commend you for being a force for good. >> some of the credit card reforms that i fought for in the 2009 credit card act. i want to talk you to about those. i'm pleased that the bureau made these a priority. our economy and housing market continue to recover from crisis. there are still many parts of the country struggling with
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mortgage debt and foreclosure including my home state of new jersey which has the highest rate of the country of home currently in foreclosure. despite the cfpb's new rules, in homeowners behind in the mortgages continue to face obstacles to obtain modifications that can help. until it is complete homeowners are not available for duel tracking protections which prohibit a servicer from moving forward with a foreclosure while the home owner is pursuing lost mitigation. while they xram to believe pull together document after document, they accumulate additional fees and burdens that make them even more likely to default. some services request documents on a peace meal basis and request the same documents. making it an infective loss mitigation a pipe dream. do you have concerns that services are intentionally
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obstructing the loss mitigation process to favor foreclosure? if so what more can be done to protect consumers? >> we do and i do have concerns for that. i saw the difficulties that mortgage servicing problems were creating for individual homeowners who really didn't deserve to have that heaped on top of financial distress. when we created our new mortgage servicing rules which went into effect in january of 2014 we look closely at the consumer complaint line frequently and work to address them. we have further work that we're doing both in enforcement actions. we had several enforcement actions where this is part of the problem. and part of the answer in orders that we had to impose.
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and also we highlighted last edition. so that all of the industry could know again that this is a focus for us. it is a problem persisting for years. it's one they need to clean up. it is a complex problem. as you noted different states have different situation that's they're in with underwater homeowners or with foreclosure processes that differ dramatically from judicial to nonjudicial foreclosure states. >> i think they're saving consumers $21 billion a year. the bureau released you its own report that found similar successes but also identified market practice that's are concerns for consumers. can you give us an update in that regard? >> i can. i will tell you. i go back to the state level.
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we saw all kinds of complaints people were making about credit cards. this is 2005, 2006. before the card act, before the financial crisis. they corrected flobz late fees, universal default, other issues. some of the real problems have been cleaned up. second, credit card companies themselves have done a better job on customer service. can you see in the j.d. power surveys. the net promotion score index which they used in hand willing credit card calls from customers has been an enormous shift. putting financial incentives behind the way people handle the calls so they're more consistent with what the customers looking for rather than just trying to get them off the phone.
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i would think about ustion those across the customers and the financial products. that will be a good thing. they know how to do it. they should do it. the third thing is consumers themselves, coming out of the financial crisis, consumers are more responsible about thinking about how to approach the credit card debt. whether you're a consumer managing your own debt, you'll have better experience with the company and marketplace. that to me is one of the success stories. there are issues that we're concerned about and looking at. deferred interest is an issue of some concern for us. how the rewards programs are advertised, we just want to be careful about that. and i think much of that has been cleaned up. but i would say the credit card industry is a hopeful sign for me that financial institutions when they come under pressure
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from congress and others and also when they understand the importance of doing it themselves have the ability to clean up their act. i would urge them to consider what they are doing there and how they can do it elsewhere. >> thank you mr. chairman. good morning. >> good morning. >> they have become automotive giant in the sector of transportation. we certainly have seen a lot of jobs created by the manufacturers that depend on dealers in south carolina and around the country being able to sell cars. that's why i'm particularly concerned about the cfpb's 2013 bulletin on indirect auto lending which impose az one size fits all cookie cutter regulations on lenders and dealers. as senator shelby has already stated, cfpb has no jurisdiction over auto dealers but seems that
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your bureau is regulating heavily the relationship between lenders anders. dealers. i'm not as concerned about the dealers or lenders. i'm really concerned about the consumers in south carolina whether it's greenville or charleston who will pay a higher price for their vehicles because of the government's involvement in trying to make things better. director, lit itting the ability to compete for customer's business will mean that the customer, simply the customer, ultimately pays a higher interest rate. how do we explain that back at home, cfpb's involvement forces some south carolinians to pay higher interest rates on a car note and how does that provide greater consumer protection? >> yeah. so a couple things. thank you for that question. first of all, just understand my background, too, is i come from
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a strong automotive state. i talked to senator brown you know gm, ford, chrysler, honda are very significant presence in that city. when i was the ohio state attorney general, we had to deal with all the issues, first the chrysler and then the general motors bankruptcies which were tremendously burdensome for everybody involved but kaum to a good result. the resultion that we understand the importance of employment in that area. pensions and health care for people who work in that field. i'm the director of the bureau. the last thing i want to do is things that hamstring important markets like auto lending, mortgage lending and the like f i do that, it will be to the detriment of my agency and the american public. we had the hottest auto market in the last several years than we ever had before, i believe in the history of this country.
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and that's at the same time that the consumer bureau was gathering its wings and coming into existence. i'm pleased about that. i think consumers benefit when they have access to automotive transportation, probably in your area as in mine. if you don't have the ability to get around through a car or truck, you're really in a lot of trouble in your life. so that's important. we also believe that people should not be subject to higher priceors onerous terms based on their ethnic, racial, or jenldgender background. the justice department feels strongly about that as well. the bulletin that you described was actually a bulletin that was a pretty straight forward restatement of the law. it wasn't a change in the law several years ago which simply stated that if you're a lender and you have an automotive lending program you're subject to the equal credit opportunity act that is an undeniable proposition.
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you need to think carefully about what your program is. >> i hate to interrupt you. i need to go to another question. a large numbers of the legislation members and i would suggest that members of the cbc are very concerned about discrimination and perhaps your approach to the indirect lending market is inconsistent with the outcome that i think you sincerely desire to achieve. my other question and some of the time i have remaining is on our conversation before we started the panel as it relates to the trade issues. i think senator donnelly and myself submitted a letter in may asking for a grace period, some time so that those good actors in the mortgage business are trying to transition to the new forms would have bhor time than
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october to have less liability exposure as they move to the new forms. i would love to hear your response as we talked about earlier. >> we have the know before you owe mortgage rule which is something congress required us to do, just as a reminder. it's in the law. i'm retired to do this. it's a good thing. it takes a regime that has grown up historically that didn't make a lot of sense where the consume her to get two different forms at the application stage from two different government agencies, hud and the federal reserve. and then two different forms at the closing stage. very confusing to consumers. why am i getting two forms? how do they differ? what am i supposed to take about that? we were supposed to reduce that to one form at each stage which we have done in that rule. that's a good thing. there is still pain in the
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transition. that requirement was in the law five years ago when it was passed. we worked on this very carefully over time. very transparent about it. we finalized the rule in november of 2013. as we get to the end of it some people are not ready. we heard from you and others in the spring and it was -- it's an example of the oversight, mr. chairman, you talked about. when we get congressional oversight, i take it seriously. i don't regard myself as able to blow off concerns that people raise to me f you're raising a concern on behalf of your constituents they're the people i'm trifg toying to serve as well. so we did in the end it was due to an error in our part, but we did back up the implementation date further out in the end of the summer sale season. it is now under consideration to
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put that in october. a lot of people don't like a date of something like january because when we did our first round of mortgage rules, we were under requirement of time frames from congress, it was january and so many systems change that's they do or systems freeze that's they do at the end of the year that is inconvenient. and in specific response to your question, we went out and worked with the other agencies to get an agreement which we have that the early examination of this will be diagnostic and corrected. we don't think people are out there going to be trying to exploit consumers on something like this. they're going to be trying to get it right. and so for the first period which may last many months of the other agencies as we look at this, if we seerors we'll see what they are and how they should be corrected. we'll not be looking to be punitive toward people. we said that explicitly.
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i'll say it on the record again to you. that's how it will be. i can tell you that what we said about the mortgage rules two years ago and that is how it has been and nobody has said otherwise or complained and we have taken that to heart here as well. happy to talk further about it. we've been trying to get a fair amount of leeway here and moving forward with an important chafrpgschange that's good for consumers and help them understand the transaction better. >> senator tester? >> thank you, mr. chairman. we appreciate the extension you gave. you did respond to a letter that i and mr. on this committee had signed. >> i want to talk about native-americans. it's a different ball game there because of the issues of
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sovereignty. and the issues of con stantation. i heard montana tribes that are very unhappy with the consultation process. to be fair, i've also heard from an oklahoma bank that you're doing good things. so the question comes up, is the consultation process, is there a policy on what you do and how you do it that applies to every tribe across the country. >> in fact in response to back and forth that you and i had on this subject and others from that area of the country in particular, but other parts of the country may have a tribe or two as well. we formalized that and shared it
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and got input on it from the leading tribal counsel. we have since been requested can we put together an mou that will be more specific about some of the aspects of how this works. we have shot back to the tribes sort of as a whole. i don't want to get into having individual consultations with individual tribes. there are a00 of them across the country. we're trying to deal with them as a group. they're very concerned about the small dollar lending, potential regulations there. we have had two consultations with them on that subject at their request. there is a considerable amount of input from them. we try to be as an agency accessible to people at all
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times. i think tham proves our work if we know it and it doesn't help to not know it. i say that, too. i'm happy to hear further from you. >> and we'll try to help where we can help. >> earlier this year, the bureau proposed several changes. while i think there are a few things we can work on, we're appreciative of what the bureau did and made positive changes. one chf was expanding the definition of rural states and now under the changes, almost entire state of montana is considered rural which is correct, by the way. are you still hearing from folks who think they are in rural areas that they haven't defined very well? >> i still recall meeting in your office in which you pressed upon me that i thought i said
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that i understand something about rural from parts of ohio which are quite rural. and that led to how to expand this definition. before we came into being an agency and the deaffinition would have covered 2.2% of the american population which was plausible but somewhat narrow. we looked at it and we decided it was too narrow. we came out with a different definition that was more like 9.9% of the population. and even after that then people showed me maps of ohio, county by county. and senator brown and i could do this in our sleep. there were a bunch of counties that were rural in my mind from what i know about them.
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one thing about the bureau i appreciate about the strong team there is we want to get it right. if we didn't get it right, we're not going to pretent we did and say we can't change it. it is much broader in the entire state and covers it 22% of the american population. it feels appropriate to me. we've had zrements within the agency over it. but we're working to finalize rules on that which we should do by the end of summer. i think noefrt part they're fairly well received. we hope people will think more about it. >> i was very concerned about this hearing about the information you're selecting. and because of the data breach at opm. maybe this data base will be breachable, too. i was very encouraged where you're not collecting social security numbers, names, addresses, account numbers.
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i think if we to pass a bill that would tell you to release personnel, personally dat yachlt you would have to go back and put names and addresses and social securities to that data which would take a ton of time. >> i really would not like to have to do that. >> thank you very much. >> director, want to raise the issue with several people raised in a bipartisan level of the cost of your building. what i understand from your inspector general, total cost of this building which used to be used by the off the of the thrift supervision is $216 million all in. this is a facility which you gutted and you're putting in a two story waterfall in a glass staircase.
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that will lead to a per employee cost of hecking them in washington, d.c. $148,046 per employee. i would say that's senseless building that is way okay with the odds of thrift supervision. how come you need $216 million in upgrade of what they already had? >> several things. >> how does the two story waterfall help you do your job? >> that one in particular, i don't begin to see how it helps us do our job and probably we won't end up with a waterfall in this building. but any two bit shopping mall in america can you find a waterfall. i think that is very overstate bid people. in any event the office of thrift supervision had this building before and they recognized and did an audit and
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recognized the building was in deep need of fundamental repairs. we're talking about use -- >> let me interrupt a little bit and follow on the line of senator tester. you certainly would be able to pick up the collection of bulk work that you're doing. had you taken the specific action i would ask you again having taken the specific action to take members of congress out of your data collection and members of the supreme court out of your data collection? do you see the issue on separation of powers? >> so you now kind of piled up two questions on me that i haven't had yet a chance to answer. i'd like to go back to the building first if i may. >> they recognize that systems were reaching into the useful life. >> get back to the secondary question. and you had made sure that you have not collected the credit card data of supreme court
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justices? >> we have not collected credit card data on any member of congress or any supreme court justice. i would -- we have no purpose for me to do so. into is it more important of the privacy of the individuals across the country where we're not collecting their data either. >> are you sure you have not collected supreme court justice information? >> why i would do that? because of the separation of powers. >> but why would i be collecting supreme court justice data? >> this is a scandal. it is a bit like the nsa scandal. >> it gives you at built to abuse this power and intimidate the court. >> intimidate the court? i don't really follow that at
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all. nor it would make any sense for me to do. that all it would do is discredit -- >> i think senator tester picked up on the issue. the only person of collecting data is to be able to access it and the problem is as you collect this -- >> not so. for private sector the purpose of collecting this information is to access it. for us it's to monitor markets. >> chinese intelligence service had it before you do when they -- now that we've seen on the order of 10 or 200 million people compromised by opm? the problem is we don't even trust you to keep us secure. >> i see you setting up a number of hypothetical is and i'd be happy to speak with you to make
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you feel better. >> why is $148,000 per employee necessary to your mission? >> those numbers are off. >> they're actual lit numbers of your inspector general. >> look they're talking about things liction other rents, they're talking about other services. the construction costs have remained actually fairly consistently constant. we've now let the contracts and they're coming in under budget. and they're fairly consistent with what the otf's first opined was necessary six or seven years ago before the cfpb even existed. i think this is vastly overdone. that's my view. i'm happy to talk further with you about it. >> i would gently suggest you make sure you're not collecting intel on members of the supreme court or the congress. >> eyed i'll be glad to take a look at. that i can't imagine we're doing that. and if we were doing that -- >> i think that would reassure us all. >> okay.
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make sure the chinese don't have it before you do. >> we'll look into that. >> thank you, very much. so since it opened the doors four years ago they've had a consumer complaint hotline where consumers can call in. they can go online. they can launch a complaint about a financial product or service. and that's what consumers have been doing. they come in and they complain about sketchy fee onz the checking account. errors on a credit report. harassment by a debt collector. the agency then sends those complaints on to the company who then has some time to respond to both consumer and the cfpb and to try to resolve the issue. the agency received 6 auto50,000 complaints throughout the hotline. can you give us a figure of how many of the complaints were resolved to the consumer's
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satisfaction? and how much consumers have recovered financially through this process? >> yeah. and i'll say the arc of consumer complaints continues to increase in terms of volume. i believe that say function of there is still a lot of lack of visibility. people don't know what the cfpb is and they'll know more over time and i hope they'll see we're providing value to them much that's what we aim to do. i think we had something like 770 credit card complaint the first month. what happens then is we give the consumer a chance to tell whether they were satisfied with the resolution of their complaint or if not what they continue to be concerned about. and we then prioritize issues for further investigation or perhaps enforcement action or supervisory activity. and the institutions know that.
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>> consumers continue to feel they have a dispute once we work through the process and we have steps we can take. in terms of how much resolution is for consumers it's been many millions of dollars. it's had a toward know exactly for sure. they don't always tell us how the matter was resolved. many of them come back to the tell your story line. and tell us, you know, often with real gratitude that they did get a resolution and they couldn't get a resolution for months and months and months. >> there is a lot of nonmonetary relief people get on those. getting something fix ond their credit report looms for them and it is hard to quantify.
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maybe they can get a mortgage that they couldn't get. that may be worth thousands of dollars to them. debt collection issues are constant source of irritation for consumers. the wrong debt or not the right person or whatever. they can't get people to stop calling their home. i don't know how to put a price on. that getting 12 calls a day or calls in the workplace and that's not the right person or whatever it is us being able to stop that looms large for people. another point you made to me is it's sometimes easier -- it's always easier to quantity fi the amount of relief we give back to people for things that happened to them before today. and we can't easily quantify the benefit to them of thing thalz not happen to them tomorrow because of changes made today. we don't have a waive putting a pricetag on that. >> great. you created this website. we're getting 25,000 people a month who come on the website.
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>> and rising. website and phone. >> we say we're getting resolution. 80% get some resolution here. so the agency also just recently went live with this consumer complaint data base. and here you have a collection of thousands of narratives from real consumers about problems they're having with financial products or with companies. and it's all sortable now online. it's possible to go online and see it by product by date by where the consumer lives. for example, just this morning i went to the data base and looked for all the complaints for massachusetts about mortgages. it's a powerful way to see which issues are cropping up in the communities that we represent. now i know it's only been online for just a few weeks. but i wondered if you could describe how you think this will help improve the market for financial products. >> so the data base is actually on line longer.
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it was really broken into generic categories which were less insightful for people than hearing in the consumer's own words. i think that is incredibly important. we described the narrative as the heart and soul of the complaint. for me to make a kplabt and be categorized as debt collection, wrong amount, one of a number of complaints and that's all the more you know about it. just not nearly as insightful as to be able to hear exactly what happened to me. the calls i got at home the effect on my life. it is tangible. it's real. and to me that is very significant. the data base is causing institutions to have to compete on customer service. i that i is a positive pressure.
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there are many members of this committee and congress who are referring complaints over to whus they come to their office. we encourage you to do. that we're supposedly the experts and we're happy to work the complaints. can you see and keep track of how they go. we want every american that has a problem to know to come us to and see if we can get it resolved. zbh i really appreciate. that i see this as a prime example of how government can take small steps that will have a very positive impact on the market. there is now a bit more accountability for companies that mistreat or just plain cheat their customers. on the other hand, there is public acknowledgement for the company who's treat their customers well and resolve complaints quickly. if i k. i just want to slip in one little follow up to the point that senator brown made earlier. and that's about forced arbitration clausses. as they highlighted the report they recently released contained
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damning clauses. they keep them from effect live fighting back even when they've been cheated. now it's clear that the biggest banks and some of the republican hands in the house of representatives see the writing on the wall here. they're forcing legislation to redo the report before you issue any new rules. i think this is a stall tactic, plain and simple. the report took three years and 728 pages to complete. it carefully documents a wide range of problems. it is thorough and extensive. i just want to ask you very briefly. the chairman is indulging and i'm over time here. but can we get on the record the steps the agency took to ensure that this study was complete and accurate including soliciting and considering comments from the financial services industry? >> yeah, sure.
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first of all, we did a request for information at the very outset to ask people how we should go about doing the study. we broadly solicited people's thoughts and heard a lot from both industry and different kinds of markets. we were very kprens bif what we should do in the study and do as much as we could. we found in many areas this was breaking brand new ground. there wasn't necessarily data easily accumulated on that. we did go to the american arbitration association. we were able to get significant data about the arbitration process which really shed light on that that people had not had before. we looked at a number of different ways of trying to get a judicial resolutions of similar matters. we were helped in part because there was some class actions involving certain institutions who at one point had stopped doing their arbitration
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agreements. you can actually see what the before and after was. did it save consumers money to have this enforced arbitration process and we were able to map that and discern that. we looked at enforcement actions as another means of affecting the marketplace. people talk about our consumer complaint process as a new element here. we're always happy to hear more. we had tremendous input and we gave other roundtables an opportunity to digest it and that's an on going process. as we now embark on a rulemaking process, there will be small business review panels. we found that useful. and there will be noticing comment process on. that everybody will have their say. we'll listen to it all. digest it as best we can and act in the public interest consistent with the results of that report to determine what to
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do about this. >> thank you. and thank you mr. chairman, for your indulgence on this. a yell really appreciate it. >> thank you, mr. chairman. director earlier in several other members of the panel have requested information concerning the collection of dat yachlt probably the reason why it's really an item of real interest is because of opm and the loss of the data there. a lot of employees are concerned about the loss of their people data. i think when we talk about the collection process that you use and utilize to collect the data that you want to do the market analysis with, the question comes into really are the organizations that are required to submit data to you are they submitting from them through a third party that scrubs it are they providing data to you that's been scrubbed by the organization itself? do you have -- are you aware of how that works in terms of how
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you actually scrub the dat why or how it gets scrubbed to begin with? >> they have all this dat yachlt they know everything you're doing. they know everything i'm doing. they use it to market us to. i don't have myself objection to that. privacy folks do. it can be positive. it can be negative. there is data that is much more troublesome than anything we have. where we can get the data on a sampling basis and ask for certain fields, it comes to us in that form. the credit card data base is vetted through a credit reporting company. we're trying very hard to make sure our employees do not have access to personally
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identifiable information. that only cause mez trouble in our work. the opm breaches, they afektd my employees as well as your employees. we're very sensitive to that. it is something that we're now dealing with to make sure our employees know what their rights are, what's available to them and i'm sure you are, too. the notion we could contribute to that ourselves is not something that we ever want to happen. >> but it brought to light the fact that when you collect data we have an additional obligation to protect that data. >> that's right. i'm curious if you received the data and then scrubbed it. it sounds like what you indicated is in the case of the larger bulk data amounts, it is scrubbed by a third party britefore it gets you to. >> a credit reporting agency that has this data typically. i have happy to have the folks present to you on each individual thing. i want you to have comfort on this. we're trying to be very careful about it. i want you to know that we're
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trying to be very careful about it. i read and seat stories about the nsa. i'm an american citizen. i have the same concerns do you about that. i think that is very different from what we're talking about here. i'm happy to have folks come and spnd time giving -- and if you remain concerned -- >> that's a good way to leave it and we'll request. that thank you. let me move on. rural appraisal from south dakota, we had challenges i think -- i'm not sure how deep you got into this personally but rural appraisals are really tough to get. i'm not sure how they are in more urban areas. but in rural south dakota, trying to get an appraisal is very difficult. you tried to set it up so that we can identify rural locations and i'm asking is there another way in which we can get a third or fourth look at it. we have communities in western south dakota that are clearly rural in nature but they're not identified that way.
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is there a process in place where we can get the challenge set up to get them placed in the appropriate category? >> whether we first opened our doors, we had a number of mortgage rules we were required to do by law. and one of them had to do with appraisals. another is an inner agency rule with the federal reserve on appraisals. and i've always been somewhat concerned as to whether we got that right. one of the big issues as you're describing, i'm familiar it with is in rural areas there are fewer comparables. it is more difficult. appraisers might have to come from a greater distance. so they're not as accessible. so just barriers to being able to make rural transactions. we've been working at trying to alleviate. that i would encourage you to press on that. you're pressing on it with me here. i'll be taking it back. we'll talk to the federal reserve about it f there is more relief we can give on that because it's a peculiar circumstance of the few and far between areas. we want people to be able to get mortgage there's just as they can in the dense areas. >> it's two different things. it's the appraisals themselves
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and what's expected of them and come pz with regard to rural areas which in many cases don't exist. and along with that, you're seeing legislation proposed that would create the ability for some of the banks who are are literally holding the mortgages because they can't qualify on a secondary market. they're holding them inside. yet, we want to make sure that they're still considered an appropriate asset for the banks that end up doing that. if i could mr. chairman i just got one more question. i know and you work through the qualified -- or the consolidated statements. and the goal was to perhaps simplify some of it. last year as i was moving around south dakota one of my community bankers said i got a copy of the most recent release or the qualification statement. he says the new disclosure statement is 164 pages. that was the pdf.
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the only reason i bring this up if that is actually the case and if he's accurate in his definition and his explanation, look, we have to have disclosure that's people will actually read. >> yeah. so, look that, is not correct. what he was talking about was the regulation the rule that actually implemented the forms is lengthy. i wish it weren't. it is lengthy. but the actual forms themselves they're not 164 pages. that would be ridiculous. they're shorter than they were before when you had the two forms. they're not as short as my friend over here senator warren really wanted it to be, one page at the application stage. one state, one page at the closing stage. we were not able to achieve. that i think it is five pages and three pages. >> we might find something i agree on. >> if congress legislates, they legislate. but we're at five and three pages.
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we're looking to to try to do electric closings so a lot of the paper gets taken off and can you focus on key form. we tested the forms with consumers and they have found them to be much easier and more accessible and more understandable. that is a key thing for us. whether it's two pageors three pages, you know might matter in some sense in the abstract. but these are not lengthy forms. they're meant to be key summarized forms. and that's what we're doing. again on the rural i'd be glad to hear more from you. i heard a lot from senator johnson when he was chair of this committee about south dakota and hear from senator tester and other that have western states and the population is spread out. we have been working to give more latitude to banks to portfolio mortgages in their own portfolio and have all the protections of the rule. i think we're getting to a good
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place on. that we'll hear more if them as we go. >> my time up is. increasing the mortgage market which i'm glad of and it's a good thing. >> thank you sir. >> senator warner? >> thank you mr. chairman. great to see you again. i got two or three areas i want to touch on. i'll try to be brief. one is, you know we started to see all the hacking, huge concerns about opm as well. i'm hopeful that they have a couple conversations. one the areas when we started seeing this on the private sector side early on in terms of credit card and debit card hacking was an area that i wasn't even that familiar with of the differential consumer protections between credit cards and debit cards. >> yes.
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>> and you know, i know -- i think particularly about so many young people using debit cards rather than credit cards. they have different business models. how do we lean in this a little bit to make sure that consumers senator corker and i have legislation that we harmonize the protections. will you speak to that how we better inform particularly our as a parent of daughters that use debit cards rather than credit cards how do we equalize the protections? >> i will. this is interesting. some of the regulation grows up through sort of historical circumstances that don't make logical sense. so credit card protections were developed at a different time and for different purposes than debit card protections. another example this is prepaid cards. that is another card that people have in their wallet. they have no consumer protection. most people are unaware of that. that's why people are working to get that rule finalized so we cover that gap. but what you're saying is credit
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cards and debit cards, they started out as being seen as very different. you know, credit cards were about credit and a way to get away from just store cards and cards and give you credit generally, but debit cards were seen as having to do with atms and other things. they've merged together as payment mechanisms and i think people now may pull out one card or the other and not think that carefully about them although some people are quite careful, but there are differential protections. i believe the fraud protection on a credit card is $50 limit of exposure and on debit cards i believe it's $500. it may have made more sense when debit cards were just about the atm. i don't know that it makes sense today. it's something that i would invite congress to think about and you may have guidance for us on that, whether we could fix it ourselves or not or whether if would have to have a statutory
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fix, i'm not clear on that. >> even within the industry, i think there's some interest in harmenization. at least people know there are different presbyterians. let me move to another subject. one of the areas that i've spent some time on in the last eight or nine months is looking at this dramatic growth in the gig economy or the on-demand economy, particularly amongst millennials. one of the good sides and bad sides of that. obviously, there's a lot of freedom that comes with these new work environments. for some folks it's quite lucrative to cobble together these. there are a whole host of questions around the lack of a safety net around workman comp. but something we will have to work through maybe not with a top-down solution, but with public/private opt in/opt out
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models. we've been smarting here as more and more, there's some estimates there's much as a third of the workforce falls somewhere along this contingent workers. but, as we think about qualifying for mortgages within qm we've got some concerns, we've heard some concerns that this emerging new kind of 1099 or contingent workforce that traditional banking system doesn't record their income in an appropriate way. so their ability to qualify for qms are somewhat undermined. my understanding is that appendix q is the section within qm. is this an area that you've taken a look at? and if not i understand. there's not a lot of policymakers taking a look at it. but far and away, it's the most
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growing section. >> anytime i hear appendix q, i know they're in the weeds. >> i didn't know about it until my staff got it. >> the point you raised is a good one and it's something that i have become increasingly aware of and concerned about. so there's different aspects of this i'd say several aspects. we are moving to an economy in which we have fewer full-time, full-salary employees in the old model. just as we moved over time away from defined-benefit pension systems. this is happening. interestingly, i read that the health care law is actually pro-liberty as a piece of legislation in the sense that it doesn't cause people to have to be stuck in a job to get their health care. they can consider being an independent contractor and other things and still get health care. but it does create more complications for people qualifying for a mortgage,
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because it's harder to document their income. their income may be more fluctuating, but you start adding up, and you start adding up who's intermittent employees, who are temporary employees, who are seasonal employees, it's a huge portion of the american population. so we need to look at our mortgage rules in light of that. it's not an easy thing to figure out how to handle but it's something we need to go back and figure out about. but from the wealth and retirement for americans this is going to be a problem for americans. because pension plans and 401(k) plans seem to be limited to the full-time, full-salary people. and everybody else doesn't have access to the ability to put away savings for retirement or get them matched by an employer. and we're going to have to think harder about what we do about that. treasury is developing a myra account. it's something we need to think
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about. because otherwise, people are going to be falling behind in income disparity, but also falling behind in income and wealth disparity. >> in our office, we talked a little bit about qm. and i know we were all working on this issue way back when. in the bad old days when so much was happening. we were all concerned about a 5% risk sharing if you remember. that's where everybody's focus was and trying to figure out a way to get that right. one of the things that we've looked at in legislation is dealing with qualified mortgages. and there seems to be this focus to only deal with it at community banks, only smaller institutions, and i guess, if you look at a qualified mortgage that's held on portfolio, that
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means the institution's keeping 100% of the risk. and i guess i've wondered why we've tried to differentiate, if you will, between smaller institutions, holding qualified mortgages but larger institutions being unable to do so. and i know we talked a little bit about it. but i wondered if you might address that, and i have one other question. >> that's fine, and we don't have as much time to talk about it today and i'd be happy to talk about it more with you. we generally are trying to find ways to encourage community banks and credit unions to do mortgage lending because if you look at the data going through the crisis, they had lower defaults than anyone else. they are the most responsible lenders we have. and the more lending they do in accordance with their traditional underwriting models the better it is for consumers and the economy. that's why we have focussed
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portfolio provisions to benefit them. i'm concerned about it at upper levels, because i don't, the logic of it you know may or may not obtain at larger levels, but we had, i'm just experientially, we had a lot of institutions that blew up, that didn't get it right. washington mutual. countrywide. ameriquest. some of these companies that really threatened the economy because they made such a mess of things, and they were doing portfolio lending. so portfolio lending isn't always a cure-all in terms of i'm bearing the risk so i'm responsible about it. although it seems to me that community banks and credit unions have been incredibly responsible about it. and their share of mortgage lending seems to be on the increase. that's good for america, i think.think >> so it just seems to me that -- and i agree with much of what you just said, but it seems to me on the port noel yoe
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lending kmoenant there's something different than just stopping it at $2 billion or whatever, and then people just going whole slog into it at certain levels. there ought to be -- >> maybe. >> -- something different than that stark line. on manufactured housing, look i live in a state where you know we have a lot of people that have difficulty affording housing. senator brown lives in a state where there are a lot of people that have difficulty affording housing. many of us are in the same -- i know senator cotton does no offense. but the fact is that, you know for some of the lower income citizens that we represent manufactured housing is an outlet. i know senator brown and i sponsored legislation back in 2012 that actually was more expansive than what was in the shelby bill this time. and yet, we have these rules
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that are in place that really make it difficult, i mean you and i talked about the fact that on a smaller loan a $20,000 loan, a $30,000 or $40,000 loan the costs that are associated with doing that up front end up bumping up against some of the regulations we ask, we have, and i just wondered if you might address that and at least address the fact that you understand that's a problem, and i'm wondering if we might collectively generate a solution for that. >> to me the problem that i'm concerned about, it's not limited to manufactured housing. it's as you go to thelier end of the spectrum in terms of the size of the loan. the smaller the loan there's certain amount of costs that have to be incurred in order to make that loan. so at a loan that's $200,000 $300,000, $400,000, i guess in california maybe $800,000 the costs are spread over a big base. at $25,000 or $50,000, a lot of houses in my state are of that
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kind and manufactured houses are that kind the costs start to get larger. the law, as it currently exists and that we implemented does provide for that and it says under $100,000, the 3% points and fees cap can rise to 4 and then to 5 and then at lower levels to be a hard dollar am. whether those numbers are set at the right smot is a point worthy of attention. again, that's not specific to manufactured housing. and i want to know that people at the lower end of the cost spectrum can get mortgages and aren't blocked by something in the administration or just costs of this. just as automobile lending actually is going further down the spectrum. people need their cars and to me that's a good thing. so i'm happy to talk further with that. we have looked we've been trying to look at the data on manufactured housing. people have


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